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There were numerous unknowns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when Stephanie “Coop” Cooper, RN, jumped in and volunteered to care for the first potential COVID-19 inpatient (who ended up testing negative) at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center. Without hesitation, she pushed her own concerns aside and continues to work tirelessly in CMC’s medical intensive care unit (MICU) to quell the swirling fears and uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus disease – for patients, their families and teammates.  

“I keep telling people it’s not so much what’s happening in the MICU that’s been an extra stress. It’s all of the questions outside of it,” says Cooper, an alumna of the Carolinas College Nursing program.I want to be a resource for a lot of people who are online and reading all the scary things that may or may not be true or may be exaggerated.”

Cooper is always at the ready, even as COVID-19 disrupts her own life. She had plans to visit and help take care of an aunt who was recently diagnosed with cancer. She canceled the trip not only out of an abundance of caution but because she knows she’s needed here.

Cooper’s manager says she’s a tremendous team player in the MICU and volunteered for the Highly Infectious Disease Team, which receives special training and preparation to treat patients with highly infectious diseases.

Like the rest of us, Cooper is taking steps to soothe her stress during this time. She puts her green thumb to work in her garden and fixing up her yard – enhancing vitality around her home as she does for patients and teammates at Atrium Health